2012 NBA Playoffs: Evaluating the Efficiency of the Western Conference Entries

Use your ← → (arrow) keys to browse more stories
2012 NBA Playoffs: Evaluating the Efficiency of the Western Conference Entries
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

ESPN and its assorted array of analysts inform us on a regular basis that “Numbers Never Lie.”  Of course, if predicting the outcome of sporting events—like the NBA playoffs—were a simple matter of numerical analysis, the word “bookie” would be a synonym for “nerd” and Las Vegas might still be a desert wasteland.

Nonetheless, measurements of offensive and defensive efficiency, far more often than not, properly account for the level of a team’s success.  Thus Abacus offers a look at the seasons of the eight Western Conference playoff entries through the lens of efficient play—on both ends of the floor.

Offensive efficiency can be thought of as the percentage of a team’s possessions that result in either a converted field goal or two (and sometimes even three) free-throw attempts.  Here’s how they rank in this regard:

 

OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY

  Possessions Conversions Percentage
Denver 6,517 3,408 .523
Utah 6,398 3,315 .5181
San Antonio 6,353 3,289 .5177
LA Clippers 6,176 3,170 .51327
Oklahoma City 6,410 3,290 .51326
LA Lakers 6,272 3,184 .508
Memphis 6,260 3,139 .501
Dallas 6,307 3,024 .479

Similarly, defensive efficiency would be the percentage of the opponent’s possessions that do not result in a field goal or free-throw attempts—either a missed field goal not offensive rebounded or a turnover.  Those rankings are as follows:

 

DEFENSIVE EFFICIENCY

  Possessions Stops Percentage
Memphis 6,256 3,255 .5203
Dallas 6,327 3,288 .5197
Oklahoma City 6,453 3,326 .515
San Antonio 6,372 3,274 .514
Denver 6,511 3,326 .511
LA Lakers 6,267 3,198 .510
LA Clippers 6,149 3,073 .500
Utah 6,370 3,147 .494

 

Let’s consider one more standard of measurement—one to which Google is not likely to lead you.

Calculate a team’s field-goal percentage.  Add to this the percentage of the team’s missed field goals which can be balanced by an offensive rebound. (E.g. a team misses 40 field goal attempts, but hustles its way to 10 offensive rebounds—that’s a 25 percent.) 

Finally, we’ll determine the percentage of a team’s possessions which are lost to a turnover; naturally, this figure will be subtracted.  In this manner, we create a numerical offensive rating.

 

OFFENSIVE RATING

  Field Goals Off. Rebounds Turnovers Rating
Utah .456 .286 .146 596
LA Clippers .455 .273 .142 586
Denver .476 .261 .156 581
San Antonio .478 .239 .141 576
LA Lakers .457 .276 .159 574
Memphis .447 .277 .153 571
Oklahoma City .471 .262 .168 565
Dallas .443 .221 .147 517

 

Finally, we’ll crunch those same numbers for the opponent and create a numerical defensive rating.

 

OPPONENTS' OFFENSIVE RATING

  Field Goals Off. Rebounds Turnovers Rating
Memphis .444 .255 .181 518
Dallas .435 .239 .153 521
San Antonio .452 .223 .142 533
Denver .456 .241 .158 539
Oklahoma City .427 .259 .145 541
LA Clippers .447 .253 .157 543
Utah .453 .250 .152 551
LA Lakers .437 .236 .119 554

 

An average of each team’s standing in these four categories will create this ranking.

  Off. Eff. Def. Eff. Off. Rtg. Def. Rtg. Overall
Denver 1 5 3 4 3.25
San Antonio 3 4 4 3 3.5
Memphis 7 1 6 1 3.75
Utah 2 8 1 7 4.5
LA Clippers 4 7 2 6 4.75
Dallas 8 2 8 2 5.0
Oklahoma City 5 3 7 5 5.0
LA Lakers 6 6 5 8 6.25

 

If ESPN is correct about the veracity of numbers, then we should all be calling our friendly neighborhood bookie—no, not at the public library—and betting on Mr. Karl’s Denver Nuggets to make the NBA Finals.  Betcha can get some attractive odds on that one, huh?

Load More Stories

Follow Denver Nuggets from B/R on Facebook

Follow Denver Nuggets from B/R on Facebook and get the latest updates straight to your newsfeed!

Denver Nuggets

Subscribe Now

We will never share your email address

Thanks for signing up.